Camille Prats’ advice to young costars: Gratitude over entitlement
The past couple of years saw Camille Prats adopting a more active lifestyle. And it shows—her fans and followers and social media can’t help but notice and compliment the actress’ fitter body.
But more than the physical appearance, it’s how Camille feels inside that really matters. At 37, the actress has never been healthier. And that gives her an extra confidence boost as she returns to the grueling “teleserye” grind after five years.
“How I looked on television never really bothered me, even before I started working out. Yes, the criticisms and bashing were there, but I didn’t mind them; I didn’t really mind being on the chubbier side … I’m curious about how I look onscreen now. But more than looking slimmer, it’s really about how I feel,” she said in a recent Zoom conference for the new GMA 7 afternoon soap opera, “AraBella.”
Now, working long hours is not a problem.
“I don’t get tired easily anymore. We had to do some physically and emotionally taxing scenes, and I was able to use the strength I have built from working out. They’re not as hard as they used to be. Back then, I would reach a certain point where I would just feel tired and sleepy,” she said. The last soap Camille topbilled was the 2018 rom-com series “Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw.” She then took a break from acting the following year to focus on nursing and raising her then newborn son, Nolan.
“I didn’t act for five years because of the changing seasons in my life. I had a child. And when you have a little baby, you have to be there all the time. They require lots of attention,” pointed out Camille, who has three children: Nala and Nolan with husband VJ Yambao; and Nathan, with her late first husband Anthony Linsangan.
While acting had to take a backseat, Camille continued hosting the lifestyle magazine show “Mars” until its 10-year run ended last year. “I’m fortunate that ‘Mars’ filled that gap. I enjoyed hosting, which I learned a lot from. I fell in love with it … After that, my management, Sparkle, asked me if I was ready to do a soap,” she recalled.
And since Nolan will already turn 4 this July, Camille felt that doing a television show will be more manageable now. The fact that locked-in tapings are no longer required was another deciding factor.
“The biggest reason is that I really missed acting. I was also nervous because I was like, ‘Marunong pa kaya ako? Ano na ba ang acting style ngayon,’” she said, laughing.
“And there’s no need for locked-in tapings, so that means I get to go home, which is important for me. I can’t be away from my family for too long,” Camille added. “But it always feels good to go back to something you love. Acting feels like home to me.”
Directed by Adolf Alix Jr., “AraBella” follows Roselle (Camille), a loving mother who continues to seek her lost daughter who was kidnapped 10 years ago. Through a public service television program, Roselle meets Ara (Shayne Sava), whom she decides to take in because their life stories match.
Later, a DNA test reveals that they’re not related by blood. Still, Roselle pushed through with Ara’s adoption. Things get complicated, however, when Roselle’s biological daughter, Bella (Althea Ablan)—who became a con artist to survive—turns up.
While Camille has 30 years of acting experience under her belt, she admitted that she did feel a bit rusty upon her return on the set.
Nothing but good words
“I had trouble memorizing lines. As a host, you have teleprompters, and you can ad-lib. So it was a struggle,” she said. “And in doing heavier scenes, there were times when Direk Adolf told me that I needed to raise the level of emotions … I had to feel my way in and figure out whether I wasn’t giving enough, or Direk simply wanted to give ‘afternoon-soap’ (over-the-top) acting.”
Camille’s teen coactors, Shayne and Althea, had nothing but good words about working with her: Shayne was in awe of Camille’s “expressive eyes”; Althea appreciated Camille’s emotional “generosity.” And hearing them pay their respects to her was heartening, Camille said.
“Nakakatanda! But nakakataba ng puso. Knowing that this is how they feel about me is heartening.”
Many years ago, it was Camille in Althea and Shayne’s place—an eager, wide-eyed teen star hoping to make a mark in the industry. Now, she’s the one dispensing advice and wisdom.
“I’m intentional about the things I share with them. I have been in show biz for 30 years now—from a child star to teen actress to who I am now. I’m thankful that I’m still here, that I’m still loved and being given wonderful projects … So I want them to understand that they should be grateful for all the opportunities that come their way,” she said.
“Being an actor is a job. And we should be grateful and act grateful; not entitled and privileged. They should love their craft,” she added. “And they should realize that every decision they make hereon will have an impact on their future. But I’m sure Althea and Shayne will go far in life because they’re kind, humble and hardworking.” INQ